Welcome to ActonBridge.Org Wind Power Links & Media Page

Update 12. September 2014 - some broken links deleted after report from a correspondent. Others may also fail.

This section of the ActonBridge.Org website discusses a proposed 12MW wind turbine installation on Green Belt land at Aston, our neighbouring parish just across the River Weaver. The application was defeated at Appeal in 2008, so this page remains as an historical record, and may serve as a warning to other parties intent on despoiling our Cheshire Green Belt.

Here is a selection of articles from the local and national press, followed by general news about windfarms, and links to other campaigns and information.

Back to the main Wind Farm page

The Warrington and Northwich Guardian newspapers of 14. and 16. January 2008 carried an illustrated feature article (below left, © Northwich Guardian) about the visit of Mike Hall MP to view the site of the proposed Aston Wind Farm. He helped unveil one of the new banners which will draw attention to the Stop Aston Windfarm Campaign. The Guardian wrote,
'Mike Hall, MP for Weaver Vale, has backed the campaigners saying the farm should not be built. He said:
""It's very much in the balance. The action group has set its sights on being absolutely prepared. It's an astonishingly beautiful part of Cheshire and to have four massive turbines built would really spoil the environment and the view."
The company took down a device to measure wind speeds in November but as yet Tegni have not published the results.
Mike added:
""My suspicion is that the anemometer readings are so low that the turbines won't make much energy. The company should be obliged to publish the readings and if they are keeping it a secret there must be a reason for it. We would then know how much energy the turbines would produce".'

Copyright Northwich Guardian 2008
The Chester Chronicle devoted its entire front page to the Stop Aston Windfarm campaign on 23. November 2007, with a 'graphic' illustration of the enormous scale of the giant turbines proposed for Aston Grange, compared with the well-known landmarks of Fiddlers Ferry and the Big Ben tower. Many people still seem to be unaware of just how tall and intrusive these monsters would be.

Copyright Chester Chronicle 2007

The theme continued on p16 with an article about the protest, and a photo of Aston's Parish Clerk Ian Leather with Mike Hall MP, who has been a vociferous campaigner against the turbines, even raising the matter in Parliament.

Copyright Chester Chronicle 2007

The (national) Guardian published a disingenuous article by Maria McCaffery of the British Wind Energy Association on Friday December 14, 2007 - you can read our response here. It's worth visiting the original Guardian article if only to see some of the readers' comments!

On a similar theme, the (national) Guardian on Friday 7. December 2007 (p39) had a full-page interview with the President and Chief Executive of Vestas Wind Systems, Ditlev Engel. Mr Engel admitted to shortages of components and quality control issues, but made no reference to the recent Scottish tower collapse. This article was in the same week that the Government announced plans for a huge expansion of off-shore wind power. The Guardian reminded its readers that Vestas went into receivership in 1987 after trying to expand too quickly.

You can read the article (and see a picture of Mr Engel) here. "An intensely private man, he is adamant that he will not provide details of his personal interests or family life".

Copyright Northwich Guardian 2007 The Northwich Guardian of 31. October carried article by James Wilson on p14, about the Anemometer mast which had been erected by Tegni to gather wind speed data for the site. Although the planning permission for this mast expired on 31. July, it had not been removed. After intervention by Vale Royal Borough Council, we understand that the mast will be removed and the site restored to agricultural use during November.

Despite repeated requests from Mike Hall MP and others, Tegni have refused to make public their anemometer data, so it is impossible for the public to judge whether the Aston site will generate enough electricity to offset its 'inappropriate' development in the green belt.

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The developer, Tegni Cymru Cyf, has lodged an eleventh-hour Appeal (reference APP/L0635/A/07/2047477) and the matter is going to a Planning Inquiry, so our campaign to protect the North Cheshire Green Belt from this inappropriate industrial-scale development must continue.

The Northwich Guardian again featured the Parish Council's concerns about the proposed wind turbines, interviewing Steve Pardoe from Acton Bridge with an illustrated article by James Wilson on p13. Although the turbines would be across the River Weaver in Aston, their characteristic thudding sound when the blades pass the main shaft would be audible for miles downwind. This is analogous to the heavy pulsing sound of a Chinook helicopter's rotor blades as they cross over the fuselage.

Copyright Northwich Guardian 2007
Copyright 2006 Chester Chronicle This is the front page banner headline in the Chester Chronicle of 8. December 2006, with a picture of Frodsham's Borough Councillor Mrs Lynn Riley, who has been an outspoken opponent of the wind farm but was not allowed to vote at the full Council Meeting on 30. November.

Cllr Riley was quoted as saying: "In the end the developers didn't put a strong enough case forward. There were far more cons against pro's, it didn't have any benefits for anyone locally".

Mike Cooksley, chairman of Weaver Valley Regional Park Management Board, added: "Not only is this a victory for democracy but a victory for common sense".

There was also a quote from Acton Bridge Parish Cllr Steve Pardoe, as reported below in the Northwich papers.

A council spokeswoman said: "The council will prepare a formal decision notice, and it will be up to the developer if it wishes to appeal. In that event, the case will go to a public inquiry".

Left : Chester Chronicle, 8. December 2006

Copyright 2006 Northwich Chronicle

Northwich Chronicle, 6. December 2006

Copyright 2006 Northwich Guardian

Northwich Guardian, 6. December 2006

The papers quoted a "Delighted vice-chairman of Acton Bridge Parish Council Steve Pardoe [who] said: 'Most who spoke said the applicant had simply failed to demonstrate the very special circumstances to justify the development which was, by definition, inappropriate in the green belt. Many other comments were made about the exceptional sensitivity of the location and the fact that the CO2 saving from these four turbines would be insufficient to make a meaningful contribution to climate change compared to the impact on the local environment.'"

More articles appeared following the Planning Committee Meeting of 3. October, finishing too late for press deadlines that week. Mike Hall MP expressed his delight that the Planning Committee had turned the application down, since the intrusion into the countryside couldn't be justified.

Copyright 2006 Northwich Guardian Copyright 2006 Northwich Chronicle

Above: Northwich Chronicle, 11. October 2006

Left : Northwich Guardian, 11. October 2006

Copyright 2006 Northwich Chronicle There was an additional article in the Northwich Chronicle of 4. October 2006, ("Turbine protest is all set to continue", p5; only the top of the article is shown).

It quoted Mike Hall MP, who remains opposed to the wind farm, saying,"There are very strong grounds for rejecting this application. I'm not at all convinced there is a need for these four turbines. I understand the amount of energy they would produce is limited".

What's more, Mike Hall raised the topic in an Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons on 24. March 2005, as follows [Hansard]:"Sadly, our fears have come true because Tegni Cymru, the Welsh private electricity company installing the anemometer, has put forward proposals to place four 125-m-high wind turbines on Aston Grange farm. I am determined that we must fight the application when it comes forward, because it would despoil the most beautiful part of my constituency, be a blot on the landscape and represent the loss of a superb visual amenity. Having fought the proposals by Network Rail and the National Grid Company to put a substation and trackside feeder station on the green belt in Weaverham and Acton Bridge in my constituency, I will do all that I can to ensure that that planning application goes no further forward."

The previous week's coverage is shown below.

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Copyright 2006 Northwich Chronicle Copyright 2006 Northwich Chronicle Copyright 2006 Northwich Guardian
Local newspaper coverage on 27. September 2006

Above and near right : Northwich Chronicle

Far right : Northwich Guardian

Copyright 2005 Northwich Chronicle Copyright 2005 Northwich Chronicle

Above: Northwich Chronicle, September 2005

Left : Northwich Chronicle, 11. May 2005

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Whinash power plant defeated

The Secretary of State for Trade & Industry has accepted the Inspector’s findings on the section 36 application. He has agreed with the Inspector’s conclusions that the Whinash site is an important and integral part of a far reaching landscape which is highly sensitive to change and that the adverse environmental impacts of the Development would conflict with the aims of Planning Policy Statement 22 which is, in part, to minimise the impacts of wind generation and to achieve environmental safeguards. He has also agreed with the Inspector’s conclusion that the environmental harm to this particular landscape outweighs the benefits of securing renewable energy at the Whinash site.

The Secretary of State has therefore accepted the Inspector’s recommendation that consent be refused. The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will be issuing her decision on the section 194 application separately.

The BBC reported thus:

Click here for the original BBC story.

Plans to create England's largest wind farm in Cumbria have been rejected by the government.

The £55m development would have seen 27 turbines, each 377ft tall, erected at Whinash, near Kendal. A six-week public inquiry last year heard from campaigners who said the project would destroy the landscape of the Lake District. Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said he agreed with the inquiry inspector that the plan should be thrown out. Mr Wicks said: "Tackling global warming is critical, but we must also nurture the immediate environment and wildlife. This is at the crux of the debate over wind energy. On this occasion, we agree with the independent inspector that the impact on the landscape and recreation would outweigh the benefits in terms of reducing carbon emissions.

The turbines would have occupied a 9-hectare (22.25 acre) area stretching between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Park, close to the M6 motorway. Chalmerston Wind Power and the Renewable Development Company led the proposed project to build the turbines, which would have generated around 67 megawatts of electricity. The Cumbrian Tourist Board was amongst those opposed to the plans and naturalist David Bellamy vowed to chain himself to the turbines if building went ahead.

The Northwich Chronicle carried a further article about the proposed Aston development on 20. July. After a conversation with Steve Pardoe of Acton Bridge Parish Council, Lucy Beaumont wrote :

'COUNCIL bosses are drafting in consultants to help decide whether to erect four giant wind turbines in Vale Royal. [...] Opponents say the 410ft high turbines will be visible from up to 20km away. [...] Consultants are producing assessment and guidance documents for the committee prior to their decision before Christmas. Mr Richard Ellison, head of planning at Vale Royal Borough Council, said: "As the site is in Green Belt, this type of development is not appropriate so we have to look at what justification there is for it."'

The Northwich Guardian carried an article on 13. July 2005 referring to the Planning Application:

'CONSULTANTS are to produce an assessment and guidance document for a proposed wind farm in Vale Royal. This follows increasing interest being shown by developers, the latest of which has resulted in an application to erect four wind turbines in Aston. The application has been made by Tegni Cymru - a German-backed company - for the wind turbines to be erected at the northern end of the Weaver Valley at Aston on green belt land. Richard Ellison, head of planning at Vale Royal Borough Council, said it would take a long time and plenty of consultation before the application would come before the council. He said: "We have yet to decide who will form part of this consultation. We are going to talk to residents and all the parish councils in the area to find out whether they would like a meeting or exhibitions".'

The Northwich Chronicle also carried an article on 13. July 2005 referring to the Planning Application:

'COUNCIL bosses are to bring in consultants as the battle over building wind farms hots up. Members of Vale Royal Borough Council's executive group will meet tomorrow to decide whether to approve a £60,000 study. It comes as two developers propose wind farms at Oxheys Farm near Little Budworth, and Aston Grange Farm, Aston, near Acton Bridge. Protesters are outraged. Members of Acton Bridge Parish Council say a wind farm at Aston would ruin the countryside. They claim the generators, more than 400ft tall, would be both visible and audible from parts of Acton Bridge, and neighbouring villages [...] 'A report to the executive group, due to be considered tomorrow said: 'The Local Plan does not provide detailed guidance to assess individual proposals for wind turbines. For the council to be in a more informed position to respond to such proposals, more detailed work would be necessary. The study would take about 12 months to complete'.

The Oxheys Farm (Rushton) campaign website is here.

On 12. July, the BBC Teletext service carried a report on the Aston development on page 166.

Links which we've found to sources of information and other wind energy campaigns follow - these should open in a new window. Please note : these are independent websites, and we cannot be responsible for content you may find there.

Other campaigns (generally against specific developments)

Caithness windfarm forum

Ch-ART group fighting the other development in Cheshire at Oxheys Farm near Tarporley.

Country Guardian is a National Campaign to oppose wind turbines, lots of links to other UK campaigns

Ventdubocage French website with lots of links

Federation Environnement Durable appears to be the same as Ventdubocage

RAW - Denby Dale includes the newspaper report of Tony Blair's opposition to the Trimdon proposal

Highlands before Pylons against proposals to run the Lewis overhead cables through the Scottish Highlands

An Ill Wind (Ireland) includes details of failures, and has lots of links plus some excellent arguments

Isle of Lewis (Hebrides), Mòinteach gun Mhuileann (Moorland without Mills)

Kirklees Conservatives re Denby Dale - Downing Street backing sought 21/12/04. Denby Dale Conservative Cllr Jim Dodds has taken the fight against wind turbines being erected in his ward to the Prime Minister.

National www.wind-watch.org mainly US campaigns and information but lots of links to other national wind power issues

newcastle-emlyn.com has links to other wind power campaigns, including Cefn Croes

Scout Moor Windfarm one of the earliest such campaigns?

Skye Windfarm Action Group

Save Southport's Greenbelt campaign

Sturmlauf.de In German, mainly technical stuff.

viewsofscotland.org "seek to bring the facts surrounding renewable energy decisions to the Scottish people and their political representatives"

warmwell.com general topicality and campaign media-watch

Whinash Cumbria, an important test case situated between two National Parks. The Public Inquiry opened in May 2005.

WindAction.Org US site, "Industrial Wind Action was formed to counteract the misleading information promulgated by the wind energy industry and various environmental groups".

Wind-Farm.Org a web site "to provide an exchange of information, news and ideas regarding the current proliferation of windfarms particularly in some of the most beautiful parts of Britain" (includes bulletin board)

www.wind-farm.co.uk "Summary of the long fight to save Barningham High Moor" (Elizabeth Mann)

On-line and Print Media articles (copyright subsists in the quoted works)

Sunday Times, 22. May 2005, front page and p2. "Nigel Doughty, a venture capitalist, gave Labour £250,000 after a dinner with Tony Blair held for potential donors earlier this year. His investment company owns LM Glasfiber, the world’s biggest wind turbine [blade] manufacturer, which is [based in Denmark and] likely to profit from the huge expansion of wind power under Labour. It has already won many major contracts in Britain. [...] A senior Labour source said it was one of its most significant gifts in the run-up to the election.
"The gift from a businessman operating in a field sensitive to government policy will again raise concerns about Labour’s sources of funding. A leading venture capitalist, [Doughty] keeps a low profile, living in a large home in Hampstead, north London, owned by an offshore trust [any wind farms near there, I wonder?] [...] Labour’s support of wind farms is certainly important to his group.
"The government has pushed ahead with plans to construct more than 5,000 wind turbines in remote areas despite massive local opposition [including from Mr Blair himself, in his own Trimdon back yard!]. More than £1 billion a year will be given in state subsidies [read - an additional tax on consumers] to the renewable energy industry to meet the target. Critics believe that the relatively small amounts of energy produced by each turbine do not justify the damage they cause to the landscape".

The story was also reported in the Daily Telegraph and on Copenhagen News website, and has since been widely syndicated.

Northwich Chronicle 11. May 2005 p4 Storm over wind farm By Paul Brown, Northwich Chronicle - VILLAGERS are fighting plans for a massive wind farm on their doorsteps. Members of Acton Bridge Parish Council claim proposals to build a wind farm at Aston, on the opposite bank of the River Weaver, would ruin the surrounding countryside....

Chester Chronicle : AN APPLICATION for a wind farm at a Cheshire farm is expected to go before planners this summer. Impact surveys into the three turbines being considered for Oxheys Farm at Rushton near Tarporley set to power 1,600 homes are being conducted...

Tarporley Parish Council "has received correspondence from Npower Renewables with the information that they are proposing to erect three wind turbines on land to the east of Oxheys Farm in the adjacent parish of Rushton, some three kilometres from Tarporley." (needs Adobe .pdf reader)

Pro-wind-energy sites: In the interests of balance (or as an opportunity for readers to enjoy some specious arguments) here are some industry pages...

British Wind Energy Association

British Wind Energy Association (offshore)

Wind Power - UK Energy Saving [New, added by request] - "UK Energy Saving website gives information on ways to use Wind Power at Home and for business"

offshorewindfarms.co.uk? Nice try, but "The Crown Estate will be using this domain in future to publish their offshore wind related material". [And] "Our activities are supported by our core values of commercialism, integrity and stewardship" [in that order].

European Wind Energy Association

Germania Windpark GmbH Owners of Tegni CC, the developers at Aston

Winvest Finanzierungsservice GmbH Financiers at Aston

Vestas Wind Systems A/S Manufacturers of the Aston turbines.

Seascape Burbo Bank, Liverpool Bay

Isle of Lewis


Reference articles (may be pro- or anti-)

28. November 2005 :
A new German Environment Ministry (BMU) report (in English) concludes that there is limited future for on-shore wind power in Germany and includes detailed statistics of installed capacity and actual generation. Over the last six years (1999 to 2004) the average installed capacity was 10,537 GW and the electricity produced was 14,210 TWh/a, which equates to 15.4% load factor, about half what Tegni Cymru Cyf are claiming for Aston Grange.

Modern Power Systems magazine reports on catastrophic failures of turbines, including the complete detachment of a 95-tonne nacelle assembly, even at the design wind speed. More on our failure page.

E.ON Netz report (in English) into the difficulties of integrating wind power into the German grid. "For technical reasons, the intensive use of wind power in Germany is associated with significant operational challenges" (large Adobe .pdf file).

Windpower Monthly "Britain: Lightning strike at offshore plant behind blade failure" one of a number of articles about catastrophic blade failure on wind turbines. It's interesting that the server log for our windfarm page registers frequent hits from people searching for blade failure articles - clearly a major cause for concern!

Technical University Berlin "Managing Large Amounts of Wind Generated Power..." [into the German Grid]

More links will be added as they become known to us.

Go to our Aston FAQ page or back to main wind 'farm' page.

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